I couldn’t wait to finish Graduate school so I could finally have some work life balance. Or so I thought. The truth is, you have to MAKE the time. As a new professional who now has a tiny bit more time than I had in Graduate school, I make it a priority to put myself first. Yes, myself. I know what you’re be thinking, we put the students first Amie! Yes you are 100% correct. But if you have a night or day you are not on duty, you don’t have a mandatory program to attend, or you have no pressing emergency student situations, then it’s time to put YOU first that day!
Start with email
It is also important to know that you will ALWAYS have email. One self-care habit my first supervisor in Graduate School told me was: once you leave work, do not reply to emails. Trust that if there is an emergency situation you will get a phone call or text message (and yes I work in Res Life). When I leave the office I make a point to leave my emails. On Sunday nights I take a glance to prepare for my Monday morning. This works for me because I am able to focus on putting my phone down after work and focus on spending quality time with my significant other, my family and my friends. Just this one small tip can make a HUGE difference in making time for self-care.
The Self Care List
Another thing I started this year was to make a list of new hobbies I would like to try. (For those with significant others, making a list of fun dates.) I am a former Division I athlete and after college became certified in personal training. Now coming off of about a three year hiatus of not regularly making time for fitness, this is no longer my “go-to hobby”. I had to go back to the drawing board and figure out what I enjoy doing. I created a list of hobbies and things I have always wanted to do or try, no matter how absurd. In addition, my partner and I created a list of fun dates!
Below is the list of hobbies I came up with:
- Get back into rock climbing
- Cooking fun new recipes
- Spend more time with family
- Taking fitness classes
- Soccer/softball league
This self care habit works for me because I now have a list of hobbies and dates and post them up where I can see them daily. It gives me a sense of accountability. This is something simple and easy anyone can do by first making the list and posting it up. Eventually, after seeing the list daily, when you have an evening or weekend off you can do one small thing on the list. Thus far since I made this list about 3 weeks ago:
-My partner and I went on a pub trivia night date
-We joined a gym where I attended a spinning class and a cardio kickboxing class which I LOVED!
-I made a homemade baked brie for the Patriots game!
-I looked up the information on local places to take an archery class. Though I have not taken one yet, if I hadn’t created the list, I never would have looked it up.
-I planned a weekend in December to have my little cousin visit and go rock climbing at a local climbing gym!
-I used a flex day to spend the day with my mother, which was absolutely amazing!
It is so important no matter what your career is, but especially for Student Affairs Professionals, to make sure our batteries are recharged and we are in a good space to be able to support the students that we work with. My challenge for all those reading this post is to take 5-10 minutes and create your list. Then, this weekend or one night this week, take time to do one small thing on your self care list!
This post is part of our #SelfCareSA series, which explores unique self-care habits of #SApros. Whether it’s faith, crosswords, or video games, you’re bound to be inspired to carve out some “you-time.” For more info, please see Sabina’s intro post. Be sure to check out other posts in this series too!
> BONUS <
Podcast With Conor McLaughlin on SA Work-Life Balance